Thursday, January 17, 2013

Amex Platinum Cardholder? Cash out your reimbursements!

A couple of weeks ago, those who acted quickly got in on a rare 100,000 mile bonus for the Amex Platinum card.  It's a highly coveted card by travelers, because it provides fantastic travel benefits in addition to unlimited airport lounge visits.  The only thing is, it comes with a $450 annual fee.

Amex Platinum
One nice perk that offsets the fee is the reimbursement of airline fees up to $200, including expenses such as in-flight drinks and entertainment, baggage fees, and lounge passes.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work on airline tickets or (officially) gift cards, although some people have purchased gift cards in $50 increments and been reimbursed.

It's also worth noting that the $200 fee credit can be claimed once per calendar year, so it really amounts to $400 during the typical first year of card membership.

So, did you already sign up for the SkyGuide Executive Privilege Club?  You'll need to sign up in order to play this game.  Next, visit an airline-operated lounge that is not covered by Amex Platinum.  Priority Pass lounges are fine, but you won't want to use your Priority Pass card to get in.  Instead, pay for a day pass with your Amex Platinum.  Finally, submit for reimbursement from Skyguide Club.

In effect, you'll pay for the lounge pass, get $50 reimbursed on your statement, then get a $50 check from SkyGuide.  That's free cash, baby!

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • You must register your airline of choice with Amex Platinum before they'll provide a statement credit.
  • Skyguide only reimburses once a month, so you'll need to do this over the course of four (not necessarily consecutive) months to get your whole $200 back.
  • If you got your card in January, like I did, you won't be able to use this strategy to cash out all $400.  You'll only be able to cash out $200 this year and $50 next January.

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